Ah, the nickname. It can be your friend, or your enemy, depending on if you do things right or wrong.
If you're Grady Sizemore, you're Super Sizemore. If you’re Aaron Boone, you’re Aaron Boooooooooo.
Sometimes, we get some really off-the-wall ones. I don't know who named Marc-Andre Fleury as "Flower," but if I were him, I'd be annoyed. Fleury is the goaltender for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and his teammates and announcers often refer to him as "Flower."
I love making up nicknames of my favorite players, and I often don't like the ones announcers come up with. I know just about everyone on the Pittsburgh Steelers has a nickname. It's sort of a hobby for me and a friend of mine. We sit there and think of the most random names for our favorite players.
A good nickname is key, and the better the player, the better the nickname. Sometimes, you get a nickname so good from a fellow player, it leaks to the fans.
For instance, Bill Selby is the reason we have "Pronk", Travis Hafner's nickname. Could one of us concoct something that brilliant? Probably not, so we thank Bill Selby, and so do the Cleveland Indians.
Without him, they would be able to make the extra money off the "Pronk" T-Shirts and memorabilia.
You also can't force a nickname, it takes time and some thought. You have to learn about a player and his style of play before you can give him a name that fits.
So, I figured with all the negativity surrounding the Indians and their painful season to date; it would be a great time to have a little fun. I know we all have our little nicknames for our guys. Why not share?
Here are some of my favorites, and not just current, but past.
Travis Hafner: Pronk
Why not lead off with Pronk?
As mentioned, Bill Selby coined the name after half the club called him "Project" and the other half "Donkey." Most Indians fans are aware of the story, and it has become sort of a legendary tale. Soon enough, it became "Pronkmania" and the Indians cashed in on the idea.
Pronk made a push for the All-Star Final Vote one year, using the Pronk name. There were "Vote Pronk" commercials, buttons and all sorts of fun stuff like that.
Pronk still lives to this day, and you can tell Hafner has grown to it.
Franklin Gutierrez: Frankie G and Guit
The name was often a hanging point, not just in spelling but in pronunciation. "Guit" is a prime example of a shortened last name, the spelling varies, but I switch the "i" and "t" and sound it out from there. Some prefer "Goot", and others opt for the traditional Frankie G.
This just sort of stuck for Franklin, most fans I know call him Frankie G or Guit, he hasn't yet earned himself something dazzling like "Pronk."
Rafael Betancourt and Rafael Perez: Raffy Dos
It's not often you get two set-up men, one right-handed the other left-handed, that have the same first name.
So, the opportunity must be seized. There are plenty of variations. Some say the Los Rafaels or some form of Spanish. I barely based it in High School, so good luck with that.
Some say Raffy Right and Raffy Left, or the Raffy Brothers. Whatever works, as long as you take advantage of the fact they are both Rafael.
On a side note: All rise... Betancourt is now in session.
Eric Wedge: Ol' Blinky
Ever watch a Eric Wedge press-conference?
Count how many times the guy blinks, it's like he goes through REM cycles while he's awake. His recent surge in gray hairs has added the Ol' part for myself.
And please, a memo to everyone. Let's not call him "Wedgie.” That just doesn't work in this era. It’s funny, but a little too funny to use as a constant nickname.
Joe Borowski: A cornucopia of names
I say this because it varies on different nights. If Joe could complete a game with a little bit of mayhem, he earned Jumpin' Joe, for making our hearts jump.
However, if we saw the worst and the game was blown, behold Blowin' Borowski.
Now, I've sort of adapted the fact that he makes many people turn to cigarettes, and included it into his last name.
Remember those Marlboro ads with the cowboy? I do.
Point for myself on creativity if I may say so myself.
Something like, "The Cancer Man" is way too outrageous and complicated, so let's stick to the basics. A Borowski ninth-inning appearance could cause the use of tobacco or alcohol, so please hide your children.
Asdrubal Cabrera:- Up for debate
I don't know about most of you, but Cabrera's name is still up in the air. Matt Underwood tried, and failed at "AC," a simple initial nickname, and my brilliant "Drubby" hasn't exactly stuck.
Some have called him AstroCab or The As-Man. I've even heard a story of someone calling him "Ass-Dribble," which makes me laugh, but it's not very appropriate for the kids.
So, I'm still torn on what just to call him. This would be a good point for him to be named something closer to Omar Vizquel, so we could call him Omar Jr. Let's face it, all the signs are there. From his number, to his defense, the position he plays, the fact that he switch-hits and even where he is from.
The Rest: Good, not great
Players like Victor Martinez have never really got the attention Travis has when it comes to a good nickname. Something like "Vic" is thrown around, but nothing for our leading catcher.
Grady Sizemore just has a really awesome fan club name. I don't think you can beat "Gradies Ladies" if you tried. I've struggled to give something to Sizemore that fits his style of play.
Jhonny Peralta's awkward spelling screams nickname, because no one spells Jhonny that way. Perhaps you say it like its spelled.
If you really care what I think, here is a list of nicknames I've used in the past. It's not an awesome list, and there are some obvious weaknesses.
Ben Francisco, Michael Aubrey, Aaron Laffey, Jensen Lewis: Some potential
These four have extreme potential for a good nickname. Aubrey and Laffey have the names you can manipulate, and Laffey has already garnered some good ideas, such as "The Joker."
Jensen Lewis screams future closer, and he has some spunk. He has the moxie and charisma to get a good nickname. However, we need to have patience.
I've already jumped on the "Francisco Treat" bandwagon for Ben Francisco. Other possibilities include: The Frisco Kid, Benny Fresh.
Blast from the Past: Former Indians
Let's not forget what used to be. I'm young, so I can't reach to far into the memory bag. In fact, to young to even coin a nickname for most guys.
Most recently, Danys Baez was the owner of "Dennys" for just the overall complication of spelling, and lack of letters. Sometimes, you just get tired of figuring it out.
Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Charles Nagy, Omar Vizquel, Kenny Lofton and most of the Indians of the late 90's probably could have something.
I personally in this day and age would use "Homie Thome" just because it feels right. The Cleveland faithful probably never had "Manny Being Manny" or "Man-Ram" until Ramirez left for Boston. Then of course, Kenny Lofton, the three-time Indian, could have a dozen nicknames.
Now it's your turn. Share your nicknames with me and the rest of the world. Even if you don't like the Indians, bring your own team into the fold, because I love to hear things like "Big Donkey" for Royals' first baseman Billy Butler.